Ten things I didn’t know

I planned for the recovery of my knee surgery pretty much the way I approach every task—armed with a numbered and prioritized list of tasks and some clear cut goals. I love lists. I have lists of lists. I shudder to think what portion of my income gets spend on bright white neatly lined index cards and for the important, more long term lists, piles of Moleskine notebooks and calendars, in a range of sizes and colours. I am a fool for that creamy eggshell satiny Moleskine paper, beloved by writers for decades.

I tend to be a determined sort, so it’s not surprising that the only person who dared to suggest that I just might not be up to rearranging my office or finally filing all my writing samples or even dusting off a thriller I started writing a couple of years ago, was my boss. We tend to be brutally honest with each other.

Turns out she was right. It’s been six weeks since the surgery, I’m halfway through my (thankfully!) paid short-term disability period and my master list remains unchanged by a single check mark or cross off.

Truth is, I had no idea what was to come. I expected a few painful days in the hospital (which weren’t thanks to modern chemistry and residual effects from my spiral block that kept the worst at bay) followed by gradually better, more active weeks ahead. I wasn’t even close. Here are 10 things I didn’t know.

  1. I didn’t know I’d develop some problems with food. I opted for a spiral block and “cocktail” because I didn’t want to deal with the affects of anesthetic—including the loss of appetite. Nope. While I get odd food cravings at strange times—and try to eat one decent meal a day, generally dinner because I know I’m being watched—I could pretty much live on homemade smoothies and toast. As long as the world doesn’t run out of frozen strawberries and pineapple, I will survive.
  1. I didn’t expect to be an intellectual dullard. The other reason I didn’t want a general anesthetic was I knew how cloudy it could make one’s mind. None of that for me. I didn’t know that post surgery pain generally makes one temporarily confused and mentally slow. So much for the list of books I wanted to read (which were all professional development-type tomes) and pieces I wanted to write. Lately making of sense of a reality TV show is more like getting through a Ted Talk. On science.
  1. I didn’t know I’d be so tired. I take naps in the morning just to soften my entry into the day. I have to rest after exercising twice a day. A 15-minute walk, as prescribed at this point in my recovery demands an hour of lay-down afterwards. It’s ridiculous.
  1. I didn’t know the pain would bloom to its worst three days after I got home. I was drugged pretty well throughout my hospital stay. The nerve numbing qualities of the spinal lasted longer than I had expected. I was so gleeful at just being home the weekend I was released, the happy endorphins floated me on. And then Monday came—with a throbbing pain that felt like someone was smashing my knee with a hammer. Good thing that lessened a little each day.
  1. I didn’t know that for quite some time, just about everything would feel overwhelming.
  1. I didn’t know there would be setbacks. Days of gradual linear progress felled by one bleak depressing day where nothing went right, my knee wouldn’t bend and I was struck with the fact that I might never walk normally again. But I also didn’t know I’d be able to let them pass, accepting them as inevitable, then finding the strength and determination to start pushing forward the next day.
  1. I didn’t know physio was going to hurt so damn much. There, I said it.
  1. I didn’t know that so many people would be checking in, texting, writing, calling, supporting me, cheering me. That’s been a pretty wonderful discovery.
  1. I didn’t know that I would feel so proud of myself for doing a load of laundry, making a simple meal, showering without a spotter outside the door or being able to walk by myself for a whole 15 minutes. I tend to beam these days whenever I can do anything that makes me feel like me.
  1. I didn’t know that now, when the pain is more often discomfort, that I would realize how much I now appreciate simple gifts like comfy blankets and fresh sheets and pjs, the pain-easing chill of a frozen bag of peas, my favourite take-out sub—the little, but massively important parts of being cared for by someone who loves you.

Now I know. I’ll be better prepared the next time.

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When I am old(er): A manifesto of sorts.

As one ages, people tend to ask what does 50 feel like, or 40 or 25 or whatever number they can’t quite get their head around. Thing is, we baby boomers seem younger in our aging process that any generation before us.  My grandmother seemed very old at 53…at least older than I am now. But maybe that was just my perception, as someone much younger.

Sometime in the 1990s, I found a book in a Provincetown (MA) bookstore entitled When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple Humm, I thought. Being a 30-something dyke in the 90s, purple was my gang color, the genderbending mid point of pink and blue. Leafing through it, I loved the premise of how aging offered women a chance to shed their inhibitions, stop playing by the rules. By losing value to society, they gained freedom. But had I known that the title poem would spark the Red Hat Society—well, clearly they didn’t get it. I hate the spectacle this group makes of older women. The emphasis on the wrong things, the portrayal of aging women as comical (and color blind) stereotypes. Besides, you don’t need a group to tell you how to celebrate your individuality. Think about it.

As I have written about here before, my love and I are in the process of looking for a home that will suit us as we grow older. One floor, requiring little housework, walking distance to stores and not too much space to stuff things we’ll never use again. We want to be free of all that. But it’s made me think about the fact that old age may be the only stage of my life I get to consciously plan. Childhood is not a choice; adulthood is generally thrust on one after leaving school. And I don’t mean retirement planning. Hopefully there will be a little Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security left for us — we did pay into it all our lives. Plus I’ll have a small pension from my job and someday our investments will start to grow again. Besides, sailboats make my queasy, I don’t ski, I don’t play golf and I never liked sitting on a beach when I was young, so why would I want to do it when I’m older. I’m talking about planning how I will age, what kind of older woman I’ll be. And I think I’ve got the basics covered.

When I am old(er):

I will not ride public transit at rush hour. I have all day.

I will avoid bingos, casinos and Tim Horton’s. They are time and money wasters and I won’t have a lot of either.

I will continue to work for as long as I can, even if it’s just a day or two a week or one project at a time. It will keep my mind active and my pocket a little fuller.

I will have weekends. Real weekends. I will do what chores and errands that need to be done a little at a time during the week. To me, this is the freedom retirement brings. Getting off the clock.

I will go to movies. In the afternoon.

I will not mall walk. They make claws for ice and snow and even if I only get around the block, it will be in the fresh air.

I will not knit, crochet or do crafts. Never liked doing that stuff. I doubt that will change.

I may however, join a church group. I’m not at all religious but they have the best bake sales and I like to show off.

I will not purse my lips so tight they eventually disappear.

Further to that, I will wear lipstick. But not old lady colors.

I will continue to wear jeans. Real jeans. With real pockets and zippers. Not mom-jeans and not that awful dark wanna-be stretchy denim with visible seams. Not denim pant suits. Real jeans.

I will not make fun of fads or fashions I don’t understand, keeping in mind the toe socks and pet rocks of my youth.

I will not go to the bank when it opens or at lunch hour. I will not take a place in line from people who have to rush back to work.

I will not wear floral prints or anything bearing the image of a cat. I will continue to wear my black arty-boho-preppy combinations until they put pennies on my eyes.

I will give away things of value before I leave this world. I won’t need them and the last thing I want my legacy to be is a fight over a teapot or some folding chairs.

I will eat right. I will wear a warm coat. I will get the sleep I need.

I will not bitch about the weather.

I will continue to nurture my sexuality. It’s good for my health and my self-esteem. And if my “little deaths” bring on my big one, think of the laugh riot my memorial service will be.

I will not guilt younger people into visiting me. We all have lives.

I will wear comfortable shoes. But they don’t have to look that way.

I will continue to talk like a sailor. Particularly around those who will be the most scandalized.

I will retain my love of things innovative linear and post-modern and not develop a fondess for doilies or poultry-inspired kitchenware.

I will keep up with the latest technology.

I will care for my love and myself as long as it is reasonable to do so. Then I will cheerfully go to a “home.” I will not allow my aging to impact the lives of others. I will not surrender my independence to anyone.

I will continue to plot, plan, scheme and dream.

I will, in as much as possible, face the end with dignity and courage. Realizing it is those I leave behind who will be saddened. Not me. I’ll be off on an another adventure.

And if at all possible, I will come back to see how things are getting on without me.


Wild child

Maybe it’s because it’s September and “back to school” time, but there seems to be a lot of news items lately about education and in particular, autism. There’s also the fact that one of my friend’s wives has a newly minted Masters degree in education and works with children with special needs.

What I find most interesting is the rate of growth in the number of kids diagnosed with various forms of the condition—about 150 times the number of cases when I was in grade school.

Either there’s something out there that’s causing this situation—or the criteria has become so broad, just about any kid who isn’t doing or being whatever someone—parents, school, coaches—expects them to do or be now has a condition—ADD, ADHD, autism or whatever syndrome is up and coming.

Full disclosure…I don’t have children. But I can relate to this situation from the child’s point of view. And I am certain I would have never got through grade school if I were a student today—not without an entire alphabet of diagnoses.

Quite honestly, I did well in school, but I never really enjoyed it. I didn’t “like” school, I saw it as a necessary evil to get on the business of my life. As early as grade one—they didn’t have a kindergarten at my grade school—I could see there were going to be issues. Within my first three months, I was sent to the school shrink because I could already read at a grade five level—but I hadn’t learned to read the right way. Phonics were all the rage in 1966, and here my restless and bored mother had taught me to read the old fashion way, by memorizing words, starting when I was three using her issues of Women’s Day and Good Housekeeping.

After a battery of tests, my teacher and principal discovered that my IQ was registering somewhere between 167 and 180—and they didn’t seem too happy about it.

So began a less than savory grade school career. I got bored, horribly bored and would stand up in the middle of a lesson, walk to the back room and start playing in the sink. I talked back. I asked too many questions. I called names and defied authority—all the while winning awards for high marks. I wasn’t like any of the other “smart” kids. And there was no special ed, no gifted classes, just random concessions to my abilities that made me feel like I had done something wrong. So I did things to get even. My grade eight teacher told me that I’d be lucky to make it through high school—to my face.

At about the same time puberty set in, I was diagnosed as hyperactive. Which I think they call ADHD now. I was on Ritalin a whole two weeks before my parents decided they didn’t care much for silent, staring into space Zombie Joy and preferred to deal with what they simply considered to be a rebellious personality. That went over big with my teachers.

High school was where I tried on different personas as if they were costumes; preppy intellectual (too conformist), tough girl (I looked like a raccoon in the prerequisite black eyeliner), sporty, dykey type (cut short by the fact that the only sport I was ever any good at was figure skating and wearing my jacket open all the time to look cool gave me the sniffles) and finally, the stage I call “innocently promiscuous,” because I realize now, eavesdropping on the conversations of 12-year-olds on the bus, I was the Mother Teresa of teenage sex. I was lucky—whatever urges in me to follow my own inner music also made me impervious to the opinions of others—so even if there had been bullying or peer pressure, as there likely would be now (and there wasn’t), I would have been impervious to it.

Thing is, I made it through high school, won scholarships, did an honors degree in Fine Arts at a fairly prestigious university, then did more than half a graduate degree before I tired of being student-poor, realized I didn’t have the political chops to make it in academia and quit. I wanted to write. I had been getting bits and pieces of my writing published since I was 15. I eventually figured out how to make a living doing it. I’ve never had a moment’s regret. I found my way. Took awhile, but I got there.

If was in school today, I would be diagnosed, tested, analyzed, special classed and no doubt eventually expelled for being incorrigible. I needed none of that, just parents who were smart enough to be strict on some things to keep me safe, but give me a long leash and a blind eye at times, a few outside interests, personal projects or personality changes to keep me from being bored, along with a handful of supportive friends who loved me without condition, not in spite of, but for my rebelliousness and individuality, my difference.

For interest’s sake, I took an adult autism test the other day—and scored as high as 80% of those diagnosed in the adult autism spectrum. Several of the questions made me laugh; many of them were about how I live in my head, creating imaginary scenarios and characters. That’s not a symptom of illness. It’s imagination, creativity. It’s how I make a living. Same things with ability to “zone out” when I’m working, my preference for quiet and solitude (I call it hearing my mind speak the words) and why I need a fairly strict adherence to routine–it grounds me physically and emotionally, so intellectually and creativity, I can soar. As for the social aspects of the test–I’ve never understood the one-way loyalty of giving oneself over wholly to a job or an organization, why confident people would put any stock in the opinions of others and of course I prefer old friends to new strangers. According to the test, these qualities are a warning sign. I guess I should be worried–but then not caring about how others perceive you is part and parcel of the deal.

Let me be clear on this point– I’m not saying there aren’t children out there with real problems and severe learning and development challenges; kids so locked inside themselves there’s a chance they’ll never get out. For them, I’m grateful there are people like my friend’s wife, with the patience and sense of a calling to try to reach them.

But by the same token, just because a kid isn’t just like everyone else, or acts out or comes across as a little odd, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have problems. Some of us just resist the mold. Fight the power. Go our own way.

We don’t need to be labeled. We don’t have a condition or a syndrome. And we sure as hell don’t need to be fixed.


Thanks, Dad

Most women are frozen in place with fear when they first note they’ve inadvertently made one of their mother’s gestures, find more than a passing resemblance made stronger with age or say something that sounds a lot like a phrase they heard over and over again as a child. No matter how much a woman loves her mother, she generally doesn’t want to be her.

Oddly, I find the more time goes by, I’m becoming more like my father. And honestly, I welcome it.

My father passed away a dozen years ago last April. And yes, it doesn’t matter how much time passes, I always feel like I’ve forgotten to do something—buy a gift, plan a dinner—whenever Father’s Day comes around.

I have to admit, my father wasn’t around all that much when I was a child—to the point that I remember some smart-ass kid in grade two telling I didn’t have one. Which in the time and place I was growing up, was akin to being a leper. I did, but a garage explosion (he was a mechanic) cost him three fingers and more than a year of his life in the burn unit of a rehabilitation facility nearly 400 miles from home.  That’s a long time for a six-year-old. And when life got to back to normal, his work in construction took him out of town for long periods of time.

I think he liked it that way. The freedom. The constant change. He wasn’t really the domestic white-picket-fence type.

I remember at 17, being quite smitten with my last boyfriend’s father. He had five sons and plenty of work, but that didn’t stop him from being involved in his kids’ lives in a way that I just didn’t have.

Now, what I didn’t have doesn’t seem to matter all that much. What I remember having does.

And I do remember plenty. I remember the twangy southern New Jersey accent he never lost after decades in Canada (he never did become a citizen), the way he pronounced things like “po-lease” and “wush.” I remember having to translate things he said for my friends. I remember the tales of his exotic (to me) childhood, learning to drive when most people are learning script writing so he could race my grandfather’s homebrew from one county to another fast enough to stay off the “Revenue mens’” radar. (I think he thought “The Dukes of Hazzard” was a documentary.) I remember that he ran away from home around 12 and stayed with an aunt until basic training and I never asked why. He could do anything with a car—and spent a good deal of his youth (and mine) as a professional racer and stunt driver. He was 6’1″, dark haired handsome with sky blue eyes—and looked ready to take on the world in the photos I saw of him when he was a house mover for the Seaway project. He was accident-prone, with a painful history of broken bones and near misses. I remember he was fastidious about his appearance, even his work clothes requiring a sharp pressing—and in later years, I remember wheeling his chair through better men’s shops and forking up big bucks to keep him in style, a need he maintained despite anything the world threw at him. I remember him standing on the walk into the house on the nights I had blown off curfew or done something else to have my mom in a rage—warning me not to make her madder, wisdom I seldom heeded. And I remember not crying when he died, glad he was out of pain and figuring that since I had been inconsolable for days after every visit during the last year of his life as I watched him fade away, I had cried enough.

This is the day children give their fathers gifts—but I want to talk about what he gave me. Besides skin that resists wrinkles, wavy hair that behaves and easy access to dual citizenship. The older I get, the more I realize I have picked up his “if it doesn’t affect my life directly in the next 24 hours, then I don’t need to know about it” attitude.

My mother comes from a long line of worriers. They fuss a lot, concerned with reputation and what others’ think. They need to know everything whether it matters directly to them or not. They like the intimate details of other peoples’ lives. They gossip. My mother grew up with this kind of outward view and lets too many things outside of her control—particularly those that have no bearing on her life—get to her.  My dad lived in his own little world and liked it, caring nothing what anyone thought of him. That made him strong. And it made him able to handle things that would have crushed most people.

My mother commented, in frustration, the other day, that more and more, I’m getting just like him. That I just don’t care about anything that isn’t right in front of me.

Oh well…

My dad gave me the gift of self-confidence, of not being affected by the words or actions of others and the spirit to do my own thing in my own way.  Faith in my own decisions. Inner peace.

Although he’d have never called it that. He have just figured I should do whatever I want to do. “Ain’t no one’s life by your own,” he’d say.

Thanks dad, for the freedom.

Wherever you are, happy Father’s Day.

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Work sucks…

That got your attention.

And yes, I do have a better vocabulary than that. But trust me, it’s the appropriate word.

Hopefully you didn’t click here because you know where my day job is, you’ve been reading the papers, and you might think you’re in for some inside dirt. Same goes for those who thought this was going to be a confession of laziness. And for colleagues who thought they might catch me in a crime against the social media policy…got ya!

Maybe what I should have said is…jobs suck. Not my job, but what appears to constitute a job these days. I thought it was only me, but a major Canadian bank has validated my opinion.  

I am a want ad/professional call for candidates junkie. Even if I’m happily employed or otherwise booked up, I can’t help myself. I have to check out one, some or all the myriad of job sites out there. Doesn’t even matter if the jobs aren’t in my field, I’m compulsively interested in what other people are expected to do for a living. I wrote recruitment communications during the tech boom when there were more jobs available than people to fill them—and got hooked.

 But I have to admit these days, I read the ads with a certain amount of repugnance. From my vantage point, it does appear that most of these jobs… well, like I said, they totally suck.

To some degree, it’s a moot point for me. I’m nearly 53-years old in a town where a lot people retire at 55, thanks to what was a good federal pension plan—until shortsightedness and volatile markets doomed it. Thing is, I have come to the conclusion that if something were to happen to the job I have, the reality is I have aged out of the market and will have to survive on my own. And I’m ok with that.

I don’t think I’m too old to consider going after a new job; I just think that over the years, I’ve developed an allergic reaction to the kind of crap a lot of companies expect their employees to swallow. When I started working nearly 30 years ago (…back in my day…) having a degree and a reasonable set of skills in a particular discipline was enough. You kept your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open, learned to think on your feet and picked up the rest on the job. Now that’s not even close to good enough. For example, in my field, I’m convinced that today, famous ad men Bill Bernbach or George Lois could walk into an interview for a junior marketing writer and not get the gig because they didn’t know “desktop publishing” or “CRM” or couldn’t use 54 industry-specific software programs, 49 of which no one’s ever heard of. And since they wouldn’t have worked for under $30,000 a year in 1955, chances are they wouldn’t do it now.

In this job market, near rabid enthusiasm and a light smattering of non-related abilities seem to be more in demand that actually mastery of a craft. Then too, one must be willing to quaff the corporate Kool-aid®, work late, be glued to the Blackberry when not in the office, be cooperative (a push-over), flexible (refer back to “cooperative”) and giggle. A lot.

There’s my allergy acting up again. 

Perhaps the sorry state of the workplace today is one of the reasons why so many women my age are becoming entrepreneurs. Men do it too, but according to Faith Popcorn, Carol Orsborn and Martha Stewart, women in their late 40s and 50s are far more apt to open a business than men. And they do it differently…they play to their passions, put their personal stamp on every aspect of the company, keep start-up costs skinny. (With equipment I already had and a never-used dining room, I opened seed for under a grand. My ongoing expenses are well under 10% of my revenue.)

There’s a theory that one of the reasons so many post-middle-age women get the entrepreneurial bug is that as the years spend out our value as sexual beings with the ability to reproduce, we become disconnected with the mainstream (read “ignored”), which offers a certain freedom to finally do our own thing. I’d like to think that our energy, our blossoming individualism and enthusiasm for taking our destinies into our own hands has a grander source than the state of our ovaries.

I think being ignored makes us restless. And dealing with life’s ups and downs all these years makes us brave.

I’d wager a bet that bravery isn’t a particularly desirable characteristic for many jobs these days. But you’d be amazed at just how valuable a quality it is when you choose to determine your own destiny by writing your own job description.


You can take this to the bank

I was brought up that it was rude to talk about money. How much someone made, what something cost—it was right up there with religion on the list of things tacky people talked about. No doubt that’s why it took me years to figure money out, to feel comfortable dealing with financial issues.

I consider myself selectively cheap. I have a full time job and own what is fast becoming a full time business, but I refuse to hire housekeeping help. Been there, done that, it’s not the money, it’s that no one can come close to my expectations of clean. I read the grocery flyers religiously every Thursday and clip coupons with such dedication, it’s as if a dollar off sour cream is going to make the difference between having a roof over my head or not. I hoard sale toilet paper and dry pasta. On the other hand, I think we just picked the second most expensive carpeting in the store for our bedrooms. And I’m been romancing a certain classic Michael Kors tote in a way that borders on the obsessive.

Yes, I could afford it. And since it doubles as a business bag, I can probably even write it off. But the fun part is in the wanting, not necessarily the getting. I don’t need everything I want—and need it now. I’d rather spend time thinking about something nice than spend the money to get it.

Maybe that’s why I cringe when I read the news articles about how collectively, Canadians are in debt—personal debt that doesn’t include mortgages—at a rate of 163% of their income. Basically for every dollar they make, they owe $1.63. I feel a bit blessed – for most of my adult working life, I’ve made enough to cover the necessities and have some left over for the niceties. I remember being shocked when I realized that I actually had a reasonable net worth and that somehow, over the years, my love and I had become comfortably middle class.

But I know how people get in over their heads so easily.

Forget 22% compound interest credit cards and “Don’t pay a cent until Hailey’s Comet passes” deals at the local furniture chain—those are the obvious pitfalls. No, it’s the trusted authority figures, those blue suits at the banks that you don’t see coming.

Last year, when my love and I were debating renovating versus moving (renovating won—for now), we did the responsible thing and got pre-approved. We don’t have any personal debt beyond a zero interest car loan—no credit card balances, no line of credit—and if we were to sell our current home tomorrow, we’d walk away with about half the value in our pockets. We both have decent jobs, some investments, some savings; I’m good for a small public service pension. We’re the people banks love. Perhaps too much. Because it took every ounce of self-control for the two of us not to fall into a heap on the floor of the loans manager’s office, giggling uncontrollably and gasping for breath when she suggested with a totally straight face that we were good for a mortgage of a couple grand shy of a half a million dollars. We waited until we got into the car to let loose.

This is not bragging. Yes, I’m proud of how we’ve ended up, it took hard work and smarts and the fact that my love has the money management skills of a Wall Street tycoon. No, this is about the sheer nuttiness that happens in mortgage and loan departments. It’s the avoidance of reality that seems to hang in the air in bankers’ offices. Mathematically, we could have made the payment that such a gargantuan loan required provided neither of us ever got sick or lost her job or the interest rate didn’t increase so much as a fraction. And provided we were willing sacrifice luxuries like the occasional movie. Or a new pair of pants. For 25 years. On paper, in theory, it was affordable. Barely. In practice, it would have been more stress than either of us would want to deal with to end up with far more house than we needed.

One would have thought that a bank would recognize this.

Thing is, this wasn’t our first rodeo. We’ve bought houses before, had loans and mortgages. We know better than to believe a report spit out of the bank’s computer. But there are many people out there who would. After all, they’re banks. They’re money experts. If they don’t know what you can afford, who does?

It’s not just mortgages—my love and I spent the better part of last Saturday morning sitting in the office of my bank’s small business specialist signing papers and setting up seed’s business account. After all the questions—and there are a lot of them when you set up a business account—had been answered, my love’s POA authenticated, the special silver business debit card handed over, and phone and online banking services set up—I was asked three times if there was anything else the bank could do for me. Was I sure that was all I needed? Wink, wink. Nudge nudge.

The poor guy seemed at a genuine loss of what to say when I didn’t ask for a company credit account or small biz loan. And just a little hurt.

Too, a few years ago, I applied for a personal line of credit when I realized I had none in only my own name and if anything happened to my love, I’d have to work up an individual rating all over again. I asked for $10,000. Seemed reasonable. Excessive even, considering I had no plans to use it. The bank apologized, saying they couldn’t approve that amount. I’d have to take $15,000.

Seriously?

I’m not absolving anyone who is in debt of all blame. The banks and credit card companies can make the offer, but no one is forced to take it. Ultimately, everyone has a personal responsibility to know what they can afford and recognize when they’re living beyond their means. Even if that means taking what some loans officer says you’re good for with a grain of salt.

That’s where the problem lies. Believing the abstraction of the math and not the reality of the income. Because it feels good to think you can afford more than you can. At least for a little while.

But money management skills have to be taught. And for a lot of families, it’s still a taboo subject. Maybe we could shave an hour a week off volleyball or soccer time in the school system to teach kids about handling money. Perhaps a financial component could be part of the math program?

Let’s face it, few of them are going to be a professional athlete or end up solving equations for CERN.

But they’re all going to need a bank account.